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Buckley hosts fight night

A volunteer takes a ticket for the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at the Buckley Air Force Base Fitness Center. The first sanctioned fight held at a military base was aired on pay-per-view and benefited the Wounded Warrior Project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass/Released)

A volunteer takes a ticket for the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at the Buckley Air Force Base Fitness Center. The first sanctioned fight held at a military base was aired on pay-per-view and benefited the Wounded Warrior Project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass/Released)

The crowd watches fighters at the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at Buckley Air Force Base.  This event was the first sanctioned mixed martial arts event on a Colorado military base.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Phillip Houk/Released)

The crowd watches fighters at the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at Buckley Air Force Base. This event was the first sanctioned mixed martial arts event on a Colorado military base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Phillip Houk/Released)

Volunteers take tickets for the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at the Buckley Air Force Base Fitness Center. This event was the first sanctioned mixed martial arts event on a Colorado military base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass/Released)

Volunteers take tickets for the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at the Buckley Air Force Base Fitness Center. This event was the first sanctioned mixed martial arts event on a Colorado military base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass/Released)

Maj. David Haigh, 460th Security Forces Squadron commander, cheers at the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at the Buckley Air Force Base Fitness Center. Security Forces Airmen provided security for the event which included eight fights aired on pay-per-view to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass/Released)

Maj. David Haigh, 460th Security Forces Squadron commander, cheers at the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at the Buckley Air Force Base Fitness Center. Security Forces Airmen provided security for the event which included eight fights aired on pay-per-view to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass/Released)

The crowd watches fighters at the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at Buckley Air Force Base. This event was the first sanctioned mixed martial arts event on a Colorado military base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Phillip Houk/Released)

The crowd watches fighters at the Buckley MMA Fight Night Feb. 9, 2013, at Buckley Air Force Base. This event was the first sanctioned mixed martial arts event on a Colorado military base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Phillip Houk/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo -- Buckley Air Force Base hosted the first-ever sanctioned mixed martial arts event on a Colorado military base Feb. 9, during which several military members had the opportunity to test their mettle against local MMA fighters.

The eight-fight event, which was held in the base fitness center in front of a crowd of more than 600, was also available on pay-per view, with the funds raised benefiting the wounded warrior program.

"I enjoyed the fight. It was really fun," said Airman 1st Class Carlos Gomez, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron. "It was good to have it on base because it was convenient and I could go with my friends."

For some, the on-base event gave Airmen an opportunity to discover the sport.

"It was a well-orchestrated event. It was my first MMA fight. I probably wouldn't have gone to one if it hadn't been on base," said Senior Airman Samantha Bradshaw, 460th Operations Support Squadron. "I gained a new appreciation for how tough those guys are."

Though the fight was sanctioned by the boxing commission, and counted in rankings, many fighters indicated they participated for bigger reasons.

"I have a lot of appreciation for the troops and all of our military and what they do," said Sam Rauch, local MMA fighter. "Coming out here tonight was just a nice thing for me to be able to do. Who else would I fight for?"

This sentiment was echoed by many fighters.

"It is a great opportunity to give back to the troops," said Elliot Marshall, Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter and local MMA coach. "They go through a lot and this is a good way to give them a break - let them take their mind off of it for a while and relax."

Though the military members didn't fare well in the evenings standings, they too fought for a bigger purpose.

"I'm still proud of what I accomplished," said Todd Sheffield, an Air Force Reserve staff sergeant from Peterson Air Force Base and one of the four military members who fought. "I did something that 95 percent of the people out there wouldn't do. I got in a cage with another fighter and held my own."

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